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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 17, 2007 at 2:52 PM

Sony vs. Amazon.com and bits from Sir Howard

CNet posted a great interview with Sony boss Howard Stringer and CFO Rob Wiesenthal. Among the highlights:

— Sony may add Wi-Fi to it’s e-book digital reader to compete with a similar product that Amazon.com is preparing to release. Images of the Amazon “Kindle” device surfaced last year, based on an FCC filing. I checked for an update today and was told Amazon.com won’t “comment on speculation or rumor.”

— TV and music download services are planned for the PlayStation 3, cementing its position as an entertainment hub as well as a cutting-edge game console. Wiesenthal, in a hard-to-read quote, said online services will help make the business profitable by the end of 2007.

We’re very happy with what we’ve seen so far, and we’re hoping in the future to have their own content television and music. There is a third revenue stream to help you achieve your economics.

— The high-def DVD format war is raging on, despite new hardware shown at CES that will play both Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs. Howard remains convinced Blu-ray will prevail, thanks to the PS3.

The people who like Blu-ray are the people who play PlayStation 3, just as people who play PS2s were the early proponents of the DVD format. It drove the DVD format.

— It will take up to three years for Blu-ray DVD players to fall in price to around $300.

— Software is key. Stringer talked about how Sony’s made software development a top priority, and said further improvements are still in the works.

There are a number of people in their 40s instead of their 50s and 60s. I don’t mean to downplay age, but we are pushing Sony first past the digital world and, for example, now we have software architects in every product lineup. We didn’t used to. I don’t think everybody really knew what a software architect was two years ago. So now we have a relationship between software engineering and product design from the beginning of products.

— Sony wants to bypass the PC and bring Web content straight to the TV. Stringer played up the Bravia IPTV device that Sony unveiled at CES.

Basically, we’ve made the television the center of the Internet world instead of the computer, by bypassing the computer and taking the Internet direct to that television screen. Now, there are a lot of implications for what that will do inside the television set. It’s a sea change for Sony to be the first to do that because two years ago you were all muttering at us for being software-illiterate.

Comments | More in | Topics: Amazon.com, Gadgets & products, Games & entertainment

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